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It's Great Being a B Corp: Inside Our Recent Re-certification

Posted by Lori Bailey on

Seventeen years ago, the founders of Olympia Coffee created a company with a mission to pursue equitable, sustainable, and accountable coffee sourcing and production. Now, in 2023, we're beyond proud to have been vetted for the second time as a certified B Corporation — a distinguished mark of our dedication to fairness and our belief in a resilient future.

B Corporations are companies certified by B Labs, a global non-profit organization committed to "transforming the global economy to benefit all people, communities, and the planet." Their mission is to cultivate a network that "leads economic systems change to support our collective vision of an inclusive, equitable, and regenerative economy." In other words: they're harnessing the power of global business and commerce toward social and environmental transformation. And we're honored to be among the 7,122 businesses across the world who have joined in this shared vision.

Our B Corp journey began back in 2018, when we first underwent the painstakingly rigorous process of becoming certified. It took a whole year, the months piling up with extensive paperwork and email exchanges. Until finally, in 2019, our efforts were rewarded with our first-ever certification as a B Corporation.

The thing is: achieving B Corp status is not a one-and-done deal. Since accountability is such a huge part of the B Corp vision, companies must demonstrate that they're maintaining their status. So, for the past eighteen months, we've been hard at work establishing our re-certification with one particular hero at the helm. That would be our dauntless HR manager and Director of Back of House Operations, Richelle Taylor, who made it her mission to communicate as clearly and thoroughly as possible the extent of our company's commitment. And, thanks to her efforts, we've not only been re-certified — but our certification has jumped up a massive 6 points, breaking the 90-point mark!

Richelle (who deserves a whole separate award for simply completing this monumental task) offered a few thoughts on what's helped us not only maintain, but grow our status as a B Corporation.

Living Wages

Our living wage certification has tied in beautifully with our B Corp recertification. We earned points from hiring folks from areas closely tied to our operations, creating jobs in the communities we operate in. We also offer a benefits package that supports the real-life needs of our staff, including access to reproductive care, mental health coverage, gender-affirming care, and an employee assistance program that we pay for 100% as a company. Our people are the beating heart of everything we do, and we've made taking care of them a top priority.

Ethical Policies

As a company, we've implemented policies and procedures that measurably impact our workers' quality of life in positive ways. Think predictable schedules, clear lines of communication, and so forth. We've also set systems in place to handle 'waste' from production, such as coffee donation programs.

Sales from Fair for All and Certified Organic Coffees

Fair For All is our standard and certification advancing fair, sustainable coffee sourcing a higher quality of life for everyone at every step of the coffee supply chain. It's a standard we've consistently held to, even before B Corp certification ever crossed our minds. Still, it helped earn us a whole lot of points! Which is encouraging, since this idea is at the core of what we do a company: successfully sourcing, crafting, and selling a product that meaningfully benefits under-served suppliers across the globe. For this model of business to be affirmed and rewarded represents a huge win — not just for us, but for everyone we work with.

So when you see that B Corp logo on our coffee bags, know it's not just a badge. It's a symbol of manifold commitments we've been building upon, year after year, all with the goal of creating a better and more beautiful coffee industry from seed to cup. And, with every drop you sip, you're taking part in bringing that vision to life. Now that's something worth savoring.

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